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Ree

How do I clean a second hand tank?

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Hi,

 

I might have the opportunity to swap my 100L tank for a larger one :happydance .  I am not sure of all the details yet, but my friend had tropical fish in it, and has moved and does not have room for it in their house.  Her fish had diseases and died and I am not sure if there was algae in the tank or not.  The tank is somewhere between 200-300L I think from memory, and has a cabinet, but has been in storage for 5 years.  They are going to get it out of their container storage on the weekend for me to have a look at.

 

Is there anything I should look for when inspecting the tank? 

 

Also, how do I go about cleaning and disinfecting the tank? 

 

Is there anything I can do about scratches in the glass before I load it all up with water and fish?

 

If it leaks, what do I do to fix it?

 

Because it is so big, I wont be able to move it once it is in place, so I need to get it all sorted (in my head at least) before it arrives.

 

Thanks so much for all your help!

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There is nothing dangerous to your fish that will survive 5 years of dry storage.  So all you have to do is clean it for appearance.  Check it for leaks.  If you find one,  describe it here and I'm sure someone can help you with it.

 

I don't know of anything you can do about scratches, but they will be less apparent with water in the tank.  

 

I use a cleaning technique that I'm sure some people will disapprove of.  I fill the tank with hot water and add some dishwasher detergent :yikes  with enzymes (just plain powder, not those fancy tablets),  If there is a filter or other equipment that needs cleaning, I put it in the tank, as long as it is not porous.  Porous materials could retain the detergent.  Glass and hard plastics rinse clean if you rinse well.  

 

I let it sit for several hours to overnight.  It does a very good job of loosening old biofilms and algae.  I scrub these off, and then hose the aquarium very thoroughly.  Then I pour vinegar in the aquarium, and use this to scrub off any remaining organic material and light coatings of hard water residue.  Stubborn deposits can be removed with a razor blade.  Rinse well and you have a nice clean tank.  

 

If you are worried about detergent residue, you can fill the tank with water and let it soak for  an hour or so then empty and refill with clean water.

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In addition to shakaho's recommendation on cleaning, putting the tank in the sunshine is a good way to sterilize it. I know you are approaching winter in Aussie land, but the sun rays for a day or two may still be strong enough for further sterilization.

Edited by LisaCGold

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There is nothing dangerous to your fish that will survive 5 years of dry storage.  So all you have to do is clean it for appearance.  Check it for leaks.  If you find one,  describe it here and I'm sure someone can help you with it.

 

I don't know of anything you can do about scratches, but they will be less apparent with water in the tank.  

 

I use a cleaning technique that I'm sure some people will disapprove of.  I fill the tank with hot water and add some dishwasher detergent :yikes  with enzymes (just plain powder, not those fancy tablets),  If there is a filter or other equipment that needs cleaning, I put it in the tank, as long as it is not porous.  Porous materials could retain the detergent.  Glass and hard plastics rinse clean if you rinse well.  

 

I let it sit for several hours to overnight.  It does a very good job of loosening old biofilms and algae.  I scrub these off, and then hose the aquarium very thoroughly.  Then I pour vinegar in the aquarium, and use this to scrub off any remaining organic material and light coatings of hard water residue.  Stubborn deposits can be removed with a razor blade.  Rinse well and you have a nice clean tank.  

 

If you are worried about detergent residue, you can fill the tank with water and let it soak for  an hour or so then empty and refill with clean water.

 

I always wondered about sterilizing the filter by throwing it in the tank, but was worried the water could get into the motor on the filter.

Is this a possibility/issue?

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The motor appears to be sealed up very tightly.  I suspect the manufacturers make the pump on a HOB filter much the same way as they make submersible pond pumps.  Since they will get wet, it would seem pretty stupid not to have the motor sealed.   I have worried about the same thing and finally decided to just do it.  So far there have been no problems.

 

If what you want to do is sterilize the filter, the best way to do that is to run the filter in the aquarium containing whatever you are using to sterilize the aquarium..  

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If what you want to do is sterilize the filter, the best way to do that is to run the filter in the aquarium containing whatever you are using to sterilize the aquarium..  

 

Never thought of that.

Very clever.

I will do this next time.

I guess afterwards, just run some clean water through it to get it all fresh.

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In addition to shakaho's recommendation on cleaning, putting the tank in the sunshine is a good way to sterilize it. I know you are approaching winter in Aussie land, but the sun rays for a day or two may still be strong enough for further sterilization.

 

Hi Lisa,

 

Thanks for the sunshine tip.  Its all UV I guess!  Here we still have med-high UV ratings during the day. :D

 

The motor appears to be sealed up very tightly.  I suspect the manufacturers make the pump on a HOB filter much the same way as they make submersible pond pumps.  Since they will get wet, it would seem pretty stupid not to have the motor sealed.   I have worried about the same thing and finally decided to just do it.  So far there have been no problems.

 

If what you want to do is sterilize the filter, the best way to do that is to run the filter in the aquarium containing whatever you are using to sterilize the aquarium..  

 

Thankyou so much Sharon!  I will get my hubby to get some supplies today for cleaning.  Im not sure if their filter works or not, so lll have to investigate.  Thanks for all the tips!  :thumbup2:

Edited by Ree

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I use a cleaning technique that I'm sure some people will disapprove of.  I fill the tank with hot water and add some dishwasher detergent :yikes  with enzymes (just plain powder, not those fancy tablets),  If there is a filter or other equipment that needs cleaning, I put it in the tank, as long as it is not porous.  Porous materials could retain the detergent.  Glass and hard plastics rinse clean if you rinse well.  

 

Sharon, I haven't been able to find a dishwashing powder with enzymes.  Can I use normal dishwashing liquid and add digestive enzymes? Or are they different enzymes to what is in dishwashing powder?  I know there are a lot of laundry detergents in Australia with enzymes... would one of these work?

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I would just find it easier to use a 1:9 bleach water ratio. You don't need much, just enough to wipe all the glass and silicone and such with a paper towel. Then, give it s good rinse and air dry in the sun :)

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I would just find it easier to use a 1:9 bleach water ratio. You don't need much, just enough to wipe all the glass and silicone and such with a paper towel. Then, give it s good rinse and air dry in the sun :)

 

Hi Mikey,

 

Thanks for that, I was not aware you could use bleach.  Would adding extra prime and rinsing again before adding fish help remove any of the remaining chlorine?

 

Although I do find using bleach difficult due to very very sensitive skin and asthma.  I might have to get Hubby to help with this if I decide to go down this track.

Edited by Ree

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I would just find it easier to use a 1:9 bleach water ratio. You don't need much, just enough to wipe all the glass and silicone and such with a paper towel. Then, give it s good rinse and air dry in the sun :)

Hi Mikey,

Thanks for that, I was not aware you could use bleach. Would adding extra prime and rinsing again before adding fish help remove any of the remaining chlorine?

Although I do find using bleach difficult due to very very sensitive skin and asthma. I might have to get Hubby to help with this if I decide to go down this track.

if you do it in a well ventilated area and wear gloves you should be okay :). You really only need enough to get a paper towel or two soaked in it. Your hubby could even do it and you could watch from afar :lol2

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Here's one source:  http://www.ecostore.com.au/pages/g-e-free  You seem to have many of the same brands we have.  Here, most detergents that don't contain bleach have enzymes, but I find I have to read the list of ingredients to find any mention of the enzymes.   I was going to send you to Walmart for their cheap powder, but apparently Australia doesn't have that company yet.   :)

 

Laundry detergents probably have the same enzymes and should work too.  The enzymes are not required for cleaning, they just reduce the work to about 1/10 of what it is without them.  Scrubbing with vinegar is the standard way to clean.

 

As I said above, you need to clean, not disinfect.  Whatever killed those fish 5 years ago is long dead.  Bleach is a good disinfectant and a great color remover.  It doesn't clean, it's hard on the skin, and if I open a bottle -- let alone pour some out -- I get bleached spots on whatever I'm wearing.  If you were getting a recently used tank, bleaching after scrubbing would be a good idea.  In this situation, it's just a way of torturing yourself.

 

Mikey, what you are describing is appropriate for wiping down a contaminated countertop.  Swabbing a heavy biofilm with dilute bleach is not adequate disinfection.  Even equipment that has been used in a sick tank needs to be soaked in bleach, not just swabbed.  

Edited by shakaho

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Then why have I read on here that's for disinfecting?

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Then why have I read on here that's for disinfecting?

It's for disinfecting, not cleaning.

 

Cleaning =/= disinfecting

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Oh okay.

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I would just find it easier to use a 1:9 bleach water ratio. You don't need much, just enough to wipe all the glass and silicone and such with a paper towel. Then, give it s good rinse and air dry in the sun :)

Hi Mikey,

Thanks for that, I was not aware you could use bleach. Would adding extra prime and rinsing again before adding fish help remove any of the remaining chlorine?

Although I do find using bleach difficult due to very very sensitive skin and asthma. I might have to get Hubby to help with this if I decide to go down this track.

if you do it in a well ventilated area and wear gloves you should be okay :). You really only need enough to get a paper towel or two soaked in it. Your hubby could even do it and you could watch from afar :lol2

 

 

And I would be like :yikes you missed a bit, :yikes you didn't get that bit, :yikes did you rinse it again????????  LOL  :teehee

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Here's one source:  http://www.ecostore.com.au/pages/g-e-free  You seem to have many of the same brands we have.  Here, most detergents that don't contain bleach have enzymes, but I find I have to read the list of ingredients to find any mention of the enzymes.   I was going to send you to Walmart for their cheap powder, but apparently Australia doesn't have that company yet.   :)

 

Laundry detergents probably have the same enzymes and should work too.  The enzymes are not required for cleaning, they just reduce the work to about 1/10 of what it is without them.  Scrubbing with vinegar is the standard way to clean.

 

As I said above, you need to clean, not disinfect.  Whatever killed those fish 5 years ago is long dead.  Bleach is a good disinfectant and a great color remover.  It doesn't clean, it's hard on the skin, and if I open a bottle -- let alone pour some out -- I get bleached spots on whatever I'm wearing.  If you were getting a recently used tank, bleaching after scrubbing would be a good idea.  In this situation, it's just a way of torturing yourself.

 

Mikey, what you are describing is appropriate for wiping down a contaminated countertop.  Swabbing a heavy biofilm with dilute bleach is not adequate disinfection.  Even equipment that has been used in a sick tank needs to be soaked in bleach, not just swabbed.  

 

We don't get lots of the products you have :tantrum LOL.  For instance... peanut butter M&M's are not sold in Australia :cry .  Sorry I got off topic for a second. 

 

I will have a look for the ecostore product at Woolworths when I go this week.  I think I may have seen it there before.  I didn't realise it had enzymes in it.  Thankyou so much again for all your wonderful help Sharon!  :happydance Ill have to adopt you as my Fishys honorary grandma if you would agree!

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We don't get lots of the products you have :tantrum LOL.  For instance... peanut butter M&M's are not sold in Australia :cry .  Sorry I got off topic for a second.

I'll just put this here. :whistle

http://www.theprofessors.com.au/products/m-m-peanut-butter-chocolate-candies-xxl-bag-1417-5g.html

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We don't get lots of the products you have :tantrum LOL.  For instance... peanut butter M&M's are not sold in Australia :cry .  Sorry I got off topic for a second.

I'll just put this here. :whistle

http://www.theprofessors.com.au/products/m-m-peanut-butter-chocolate-candies-xxl-bag-1417-5g.html

 

 

:yikes  :yikes  :yikes  :yikes  :yikes  :yikes :yikes  WOW.... I've only just peaked a little with my left eye.... please don't let my right eye see them or my right hand will be ordering them before I know what is happening!  I haven't seen them in Australia since I was a little kid... and that was a while ago.  They used to be my favourite.... :feedme

 

Dan, is there anything you don't know?   :hummm

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